Signs or Coincidences…

I remember back in 86 and 88 when I was pregnant for the girls, Steve and I seemed to think that there seemed to be so many pregnant women around us. When I bought my silver leaf Sunfire, it seemed every 4th car was a Sunfire.

So, do we tend to notice more things that are pertinent to us during specific times? Or are there times when the coincidences are too strong to consider them mere statistics?

I’ve started walking with my hiking boots bought specifically for the Spain Camino. I planned many routes around the house, used the car to get the appropriate distance so I could keep track of my cumulative kilometers, and chose a combination of hilly streets, flat roads and everything in between.

Some of the routes I’ve walked often, or at the very least, driven them often. Three nights ago, I followed a 10 km route and wouldn’t you know, right there, on the ground, were two large yellow arrows. Quite similar to those on the Camino indicating directions. How strange to find these in our neighborhood. I’m not sure what their purpose is, but suffice to say I couldn’t walk past those without taking a picture.  These are typical Camino arrows:

This is my Barrhaven arrow (note my boot to show it’s really me!)

So coincidence? likely… or is it some sort of sign? How many yellow arrows did I walk by and never noticed? I can tell you, I sure am noticing them now!

 I noticed that many of the pilgrims who have written about their own journey on the camino speak of a spiritual journey. One where they discovered many things about their own belief system, their thoughts about a higher power, their life struggles and good times.

Some speak of meeting people who somehow seemed to have some very unique and deep guiding messages or discussions. Some speak of unique interactions with other pilgrims or local folks that marked them in many ways.

For those who believe that these types of pilgrimages are true time spent with a higher power  seems to feel that the camino itself with daily passages through old towns, churches, crosses and somewhat ecclesiastic locales offer a more intimate exposure to religious thoughts. Others who may not be of any specific faith, speak of a metaphysical journey, of spirits but not specifically of theological attributes.

Some say they started their journeys with no expectations of any transformation, yet returned changed. I haven’t determined what I expect out of this journey.  I admit that my soul is a bit tired with much of the last year’s emotional roller coaster. There have been endless amounts of joy and love, but also difficult relationships and connections.

I certainly can use some quiet downtime with nothing else but the sound of my feet on the ground, the sun in my face, the wind in my hair, bird songs and the smell of sweet wild flowers. I also look forward to being in churches that have been around for thousands of years…

I feel I need to start with my first ever Camino step, and the biggest open mind and heart that I can have. I need to listen for sage words, kind messages, inspirations, revel in the nature that will be my constant companion for 6 weeks.

I need to listen to others, more than speak. I need to keep my mind open to all types of ideologies, customs, traditions and honor the places I will call my home, be it for a meal, a place to sleep, or a place to rest.  I plan on using my camera very often. Sometimes the pictures I think I take, evolve into something quite different when I see the finished product. Seeing things through my camera lens pushes me to look for details I otherwise may not have noticed.

And whether this next happening is a mere coincidence or some form of sign is truly up for grabs. I am thinking it’s something that is an important part of this journey. When I lived in Spain during the summer of 77-79, I had a special friend for the three summers. Luis lived in Cuenca, and short of a note here and there after the last summer, we lost touch.

Given my upcoming plans, I quickly thought I should “google” Luis just in case I might find some of his family members etc. I truly never expected to find him, as my last information was that he has moved permanently to Valencia.

I found a series of YouTube videos of him at a lectern, presenting sermons. Turns out Luis is now Pastor Luis and has been for the past 22 years. He is the lead pastor at the main Church in Cuenca. Two of my friends immediately mentioned that given his vocation, he very well could be part of the spiritual journey. A guide of some sorts!  I have to mention that we have not seen each other in 32 years.

I am fascinated to discover how his journey brought him to where he is today! If we do meet, I will be interested to hear his views on the Camino and so many other subjects. I planned on going to Cuenca to “relive” a bit of my old memories, but with a much older and wiser mind. I want to walk the same streets and remember 30 years ago how funny we must have looked running down the cobbled stones in our bare feet, high heels in hand and praying to get to the convent in time before the doors locked at 1 AM.

I want to sit at the Plaza Mayor and remember us having cafe con leche and discovering our math teacher from college walking down the mainstreet with a pack on his back! I want to sit in El Meson restaurant and admire the casas colgadas (hanging houses) and drink wine from a porron.

Meeting Luis was never on my list, as I really never though he would be there. Now, I feel I need to at least meet for a coffee, or lunch and just catch up… and keep a open mind to whatever he may say that could provide me with more food for thoughts, guidance or just good conversation.

It is coincidence that I was able to find him after all these years? Maybe? or is his pastoral life something I can learn from? I’ll have to keep an open mind…

I have 43 days before my first step – -until then, you will find me trekking everywhere, and paying a lot more attention to details, and coincidences… or signs!

When destiny actually manisfests itself

Many of you may know me well enough not to pay attention to my quirky ways. I am way too optimistic at times (according to more realist friends anf family members) and I have to admit I like the way I see things.

After all, we have one big choice which is ALWAYS a choice – and that is our attitude towards whatever is presented to us. You can complain, rejoice, bitch, worry, regroup, revolt, accept, bow, acquiest, fight, push away, accept and evaluate.

The truth is, what IS, is…  It has happened, and nothing will change the past. What can change is the way we manage the now, and the future. I believe in many things – life beyond this dimension, energy that continues, influence on the future, and the blind fate that some of life’s adventures are unknown and waiting for us to enjoy!

So I sit back, and am wondering if I need to tighten my seatbeat for a rough flight, or enjoy a gliding moment of pure tranquility and peacefulness… Either way, bring it on!

I remember thinking that 50 was OLD! Fifty was a HALF a century – Fifty was ancient and time to retire to rocking chair and knitting… (by the way, I love knitting, so nothing negative there) – –

for me, 50 is truly…. FREEDOM – – – ok, so maybe it wasn’t at 50 on the dot! It on wasn’t June 28th 2010 – – – but 50 is an ENTIRE YEAR – – – and you know – I needed some ramp up time. 50 WILL BE, trust me, HUGELY – a PHENOMENAL year.

It runs from June 28th 2010 – to June 27th 11:59 PM 2011 – – – the engines are slowly revving up, sign is on to fasten seat beats – Am I ready for a phenomenal trip- – – YOU BET!

No details…. just that the workings are in place. I love life – – – without a doubt, to quote a lot of people including a warm friendly farmer and a great neighbor – “Life is good” – –

Hasta luego amigos

Syls

46 days – and many kms to train

Timing is not always our choice

Well friends, here we are already in March. Spring is around the corner although you wouldn’t think it today with the cold cold weather.

For the past month I’ve been trying to read as much as I could about the Camino. I had to pause today and take a breather, and realize that sometimes things happen at a time in our lives that may not seem ideal.

My belief is that nothing is presented to us without a reason. We can’t always decide when a change is right. There are times when the change will happen despite your best effort to slow down its pace. I also believe that things happen for a reason, and often a reason or reasons we cannot see until time has passed and the proverbial “dust” has settled down.

I’ve never really been one to shy away from change. To be honest, my 20 year career has been a constant change. The stability was at home, with Steve and the girls. Change is what motivates me, change is what drives me, change is what excites me, and once in a while, change tires me.

Ever since I came back from Argentina, something in me has been stirring. I haven’t quite figured out what it is, but there were signs of emerging budding notions running through my mind like the northern lights dance in the sky; brilliant notions of bright energized colors, notions of movement, of art, of sceneries; notions of textures, of sounds and of soft foreign words. Walking through San Telmo on sunny Sundays, watching and observing the hubbub of street vendors, dancers and performers made my heart sing. I sought the company of artists and asked them dozen of questions about their art, their influences, their ideas and their passions.

The sound of Tango music playing everywhere married with dancers sensually dancing and swaying to the music seemed to mesmerize me for hours. It was almost as if I had been living in a black and white and dark tonal world have was now being exposed to the brightest of yellows, the fiery reds, the crisp blues and the soothing greens. Every turn my camera tried to capture those colors yet even when I look back at my best photographs, they didn’t capture the magic that had emerged.

I felt at home listening and speaking Spanish. The tones, the rolling rrrrs that I still haven’t mastered, the double ll, the soft b that sounds like a v… the sing song of the sentences, the ballade of consonants and the excitement so often heard in a latin base language. 

As I review what has captured my heart I believe the marriage of all those experiences lead me to the Camino. A place where the mind can run free as one walks a day’s length basking in the beauty of an old country. A place where total strangers become friends simply by sharing a common goal, a pilgrim dinner and a close bunk bed. A place where locals thrive on playing even a small part in the pilgrims’ days. A place where aloness, not loneliness, gives way to hundreds of hours of reflection, of review, of remembrance, of prayers.

I mentioned in my last blog that this journey to the Camino isn’t a plan, it’s a truth. I can’t explain how strongly I know without a single doubt, that this has to happen. It needs to happen. It will happen.  Are the potential changes that seem to be lurking in the near distance a part of this experience? Did my Argentinean stay begin this slow process of this change, alike the few bubbles of water dancing in a pan heating on the stove, at the cusp of slow movements that eventually give to a rushing gushing boil??

Are the upcoming changes a way for my mind to prepare for a much different life? A break out of a fairly rigid world that will give way to a multitude of opportunities full of colors, sounds and lots of unknown? Is the Canimo walk a metaphor for a Dorothy in Oz experience or more like the climbing of a famous mountain?

All I know is that my mind is restless, my soul is loudly challenging the day to day, and my dreams are vivid and animated… I guess I just have to wait to see what comes next. All I can say is that even though I feel some small trepidations, I am pretty sure I am ready for what may come. The timing may not be my choice, but my reactions are all mine. I make the choice to accept the changes as a positive – – – and in a short time I know I will embracing the changes…

Until then, I will let my mind feast on beautiful pictures of the Camino and listen to Spanish songs that remind me of my summers in Spain.